Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Dire Medical Diagnosis--Should We Tell the Patient?

Where can I find a summary of Jewish law on the the issue of whether or not to tell a seriously ill patient the truth, or the entire truth, regarding his medical condition?

Answer: The Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics, compiled and written by Avraham Steinberg and translated by Fred Rosner (Feldheim, 2003) includes a section entitled "Disclosure of Illness to the Patient" in vol. 1, p. 317-328. Steinberg covers multiple aspects of this issue by tracing relevant Jewish sources from the Tanakh, Talmud, codes, commentaries and Responsa (both early and current opinion). He also provides medical, scientific, and secular ethical background.

This monumental 3-volume encyclopedia is an excellent resource for all aspects of Jewish biomedical ethics; Steinberg earned the 1999 Israel Prize for producing this work.

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics is available in the Encyclopedia Room of the JTS Library at R 135.5 S6713 2003.

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